my road to paradise led me to a rude awakening

Hmmm… I wonder if I should turn left here as I pass the Alsask Saskatchewan turnoff.  The next sign says Oyen and that is familiar, but do I go to Oyen or should I turn around and go back to Alsask? My phone has decided to abandon me and let’s just say that everything techie is dead to me, figuratively and literally. So here I am, a directionally challenged old lady on a 2,836.3 km journey to Yuma Arizona, from Saskatoon Saskatchewan, Canada. I’ve done this route more than a dozen times, sadly I would be lying if I said I took the same route each time.

I much prefer the American interstate once I cross the border, it’s virtually impossible to get lost following an interstate four-lane highway right? Well, we’ll come back to this once I get out of Canada. That my way out of Canada is this difficult should be warning me of something, but what? So I turn around and go back to the Alsask turnoff and commit to that particular road from hell. Saskatchewan drivers play a game in winter called, guess where the road is? Thank God it was only 60 kilometers and my guesses were good!

Second-guessing comes naturally to me, you’d think I would be good at it by now, but I’m not. Picking the road less traveled has gotten me into more adventures than I care to reveal. My plan was to stay in a town just on the other side of the Alberta-American border of Coutts/Sweetgrass.  I’m not sure how far out of my way I drove, but everything was familiar to me. Seems that I have traveled all these different routes before. I do get to Shelby where I want to spend the night, but why did it take me over eight hours and why am I driving in the dark.. yikes.

That Shelby was the second town from the border I hadn’t remembered correctly, but I did find the motel I wanted to stay in. This trip had taken a toll on me already, winter driving is not pleasant. Tired and stressed and still not totally recovered from whatever bug I had that delayed my departure, I was happy for a warm comfy bed. Comfort Inns has the most comfortable beds, bar none.

Breakfast the next morning was included and after grabbing some fruit/muffins and coffee I was on my way. I love the interstates here, four divided lanes with no sideroads are foreign in Canada.  What I didn’t anticipate was intermittent whiteouts all the way to Great Falls. This had me wondering what the hell I was thinking, winter driving doesn’t scare me, or at least it never used to. Once past Great Falls I looked forward to reaching Pocatello because I decided to keep this leg short, all the stress was getting to me.

Turns out Pocatello did me in, it was getting dark already and I couldn’t seem to find a place I wanted to stay in. Reading signs was now a problem (old age?) shit! Now I’m not sure how this came about but, I think my eyesight had a lot to do with this new little side-road adventure. There is a highway #91 south that I ended up on and the only thing good about it is that it was going south. I may be directionally challenged but I do know that my destination is SOUTH and not any of the other directions. It is dark now and this little narrow road has no shoulders BUT it’s paved.

Lord help me find my way, I’m tired, alone, and even a bit apprehensive now. I happened upon a reservation village of sorts, the signage is unreadable for me, and nothing is pointing me toward the interstate which I’m so desperately seeking.  Deciding to follow a vehicle that may lead me in the right direction, instead makes me question my whole life choices.  I’m reluctantly sharing this part only because of my stupidity. This vehicle ended up driving into a huge darkened cemetery. I wish I was kidding but I’m not. All the roads leading there were dark as well, and who goes to a cemetery at night?????? I have a vivid imagination and my only thoughts now are to get out of here fast and hope they don’t follow me.

Finding my way back to that tiny little dark highway #91 south was a miracle. Following it until I see lots of lights, my heart lifts a bit and I find my way back onto the I-15. Whew.. and thank you, Lord. I end up in Blackfoot where I got a hotel room, I was so relieved and humbled. I’m not brave, I’m just a stupid old lady that needs to get her eyes checked.  I got lucky this time and learned a valuable lesson. When I get that lesson figured out.. I’m having it engraved on something and it’s going to hold my ashes!

The end

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November 19th 2022